I was inspired by Toby Orb's pledge to give $1.5 million to charity during his lifetime. His organization Giving What We Can has 63 others who are committed to giving 10 percent of their income to charities that fight poverty in the developing world. Using the U.N.'s numbers, they estimate that a person making $15,000 a year will save 5 lives a year with their donations.
Ever since I read The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs, I've been aware of how little money it takes to lift the developing world out of extreme poverty. If people in developed nations give a 1 percent of their income we could lift people onto the first rung on the ladder out of poverty.
Convio, a company that makes fund raising tools, sponsored research that says that overall holiday giving in 2010 is expected to top $48 billion. Online contributions are expected to grow more than 30 percent from 2009, to more than $6 billion. Interesting to me was the finding that donors with online relationships with a nonprofit report they will give almost $100 more than average ($378 vs $281) this holiday season.
I thought it would be a good chance to share interesting, social ways that we can give:
Kiva - Kiva's mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty.
Network For Good - Makes it as easy to donate and volunteer online as it is to shop online.
mGive - Fund raising with mobile messaging.
Stanford Social Innovation Review - Publication with several articles about online philanthropy.
Twitter Shortcode SMS Proxy Service - Allows people to donate by Tweeting their pledge.
Lessons Learned for a Twitterthon - Good look at ways to run a fund raiser over Twitter
Give Forward - Create personalized fund raising pages to raise money for medical expenses
(Update - I got lots of responses to this post, so I've updated it with other services)
If you know of any online or social ways to give, please post them in the comments.
Video from the founder of Giving What We Can: